The effects of thinking in silence on creativity and innovation

A.J. de Vet

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This dissertation consists of three empirical studies on the effects of thinking in silence on creativity and innovation. In these studies I use a social psychology and cognitive psychology lens to study creativity and innovation at the individual and at the team level of analysis, using randomized experiments to test hypothesized causal relationships. In the first study I find that when the ability to modify self-presentation is low and the sensitivity to expressive behavior of others is high, thinking in silence has a positive impact on individual creativity. In the second study, I theorize and find supportive evidence that the creativity of groups can be enhanced by punctuating group debate with a short intermezzo for thinking in silence, especially if there is at least one team member with relatively low extraversion. In the last study, I shift focus from creativity (idea generation) to idea selection and find that thinking in silence (as opposed to group debate) leads to more decisions in favor of radical innovations, when the team’s average ability to modify self-presentation is low. If the latter is high, thinking in silence leads to more decisions in favor of incremental innovations. Across the three studies, I find that in a number of defined situations thinking in silence has a positive effect on creativity and (radical) innovation. In specific other situations, the effect is neutral or even negative, suggesting that thinking aloud (individual level) or group debate (group level) may be called for.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Barkema, H.G., Promotor
Award date16 Nov 2007
Place of PublicationTilburg
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789056681999
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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